The Colorado Space Business Roundtable (CSBR) (http://www.coloradosbr.org/) held its annual Round Up meeting on December 7th.
As it is the norm in Colorado aerospace sector meetings, state industry academia and government were well represented.
With over 190 participants registered, the meeting itself was an excellent opportunity for Colorado aerospace stakeholders to meet and share. The programme included presentations on networking and outreach activities. Joe Rice, Director for Government Relations, Lockheed Martin, talked about the CSBR Road Trips. These road trips, whose participants include representatives from academia, industry and government, are informal, creative ways to bring the geographical periphery of the state of Colorado in contact with the aerospace sector. The objectives of these trips are threefold: connect potential contractors in those areas with aerospace industry, promote aerospace among representatives to the state Congress, and to promote STEM education. Another interesting presentation was that of Stacey Defore, Director, Business Development at Teledyne Brown Engineering, and Chair of the Colorado Citizens for Space Exploration, the Colorado chapter of a grassroots organisation that connects citizens with aerospace.
A number of presentations touched upon the importance of promoting STEM and interest in careers in the aerospace sector in elementary to high school education, as well as the need to equip engineering students with the necessary tools to find jobs, and, more importantly, start their own businesses. Keynote speaker was Robert D. Broun, the future Dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Colorado. He stresses in particular its intention to transform the present-day collaboration with industry to make it a structural component of the College.
Presentations included the forward looking vision of Tory Bruno, President and CEO of ULA who spoke about ULA’s Cislunar economy concept; Robert Chambers, Programme Manager, who talked about Mars Basecamp, and Allison Barto, Programme Manager, who gave an update on state of advancement of the James Webb Space Telescope.
A panel was devoted to Colorado’s role in International Space Policy with the participation of Simonetta Di Pippo, Director, UN Office on Outer Space Affairs, Mark Sirangelo, Corporate VP, Space Systems, Sierra Nevada Corporation and Taner Kodanaz, Director, Industry Leadership, Digital Globe.
Marc Sirangelo spoke about Sierra Nevada Corporation collaboration with the UN for a dedicated Dream Chaser Mission, targeted at providing, notably developing countries but also any UN Member State, the opportunity to develop and fly microgravity payloads for an extended duration in orbit (http://www.sncorp.com/news-resources/snc-un-9-27-16.html ).
Taner Kodanaz explained the terms of Memorandum of Understanding signed by United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and DigitalGlobe. Under this MoU, UNOOSA and DigitalGlobe UNOOSA and DigitalGlobe will work to develop an online platform to provide easy access to imagery catalogues as well as data and analytical and advisory services across the UN system.
I asked Marc Sirangelo about Sierra Nevada’s motivation for this cooperation venture with UN. He underlined that the motivation was partly philanthropic and partly promotional as SNC considers the Dream Chaser a genuinely interesting and cost effective vehicle allowing small countries (and public or private organisations) to carry out experiments in orbit or launch small payloads. During the conversation Mr Sirangelo expressed his concern with the fact that all major launchers, those with capacity to launch the Dream Chaser, are going out of production soon and that new ones will have to be contracted soon for SNC’s launches in 2020-2021. There will all be new launchers with no track record on reliability.